We always discuss our physical health in the athletic industry. Being in shape, strong, thin, muscular, lean, losing weight and having a six pack.
Another hot topic is nutritional health. Eating all the right foods, staying away from bagged foods that are processed, lowering our sugar, gluten and dairy intake. Making sure we are eating lots of vegetables, proteins with fruits and nuts.
But there is one very important topic that we tend to overlook. Mental health. When you hear these words you may think of some specific things like: anxiety, stress, negative thoughts, self-shaming, and any other numerous drowning habits.
Mental health is so important because it’s what leads to physical, emotional, spiritual, AND nutritional improvement. Positive thinking can give you everything you ever wanted and more. Start with these small recommendations and you will stop asking yourself "why couldn’t I get to x or y?".
So, how can we better our mental health?
Be your own best friend. Stop shaming yourself, hating on yourself, giving yourself negative thoughts and emotions. Think of yourself as one of two types of people. The friend that is only around when things are good for you, or the friend that is around through the ups and downs. Which kind of friend would you rather have? If you said the latter, you’re like most people. We want the friend that is always there for us. So, why can’t you be there for yourself?
Forgive yourself. Have you ever met someone that was constantly perfect? Everything they did was astonishingly beautiful and they never made any mistakes? Nope, neither have I. If we can forgive others, why is it so difficult to forgive ourselves? You’re a wonderful, amazing human. HUMAN. That means mistakes will be made. You’ll fall off your ‘diet’, miss a week at the gym from being sick, get mad and be down on yourself. But realize you’ll be okay. You will come back and be better. Forgiveness is so important, especially for yourself.
Research. How can you get over the fear of what you don’t know? Research. Go online, watch YouTube videos, read books, look up information. The more you can understand something, the less it will negatively affect you. This will help to strengthen your mental strength and to become more comfortable with the world around you. Never be afraid to learn!
Get sleep. Your body can’t function fully without the right amount of sleep. Your body gets re-energized during sleep, but so does your mind! We have all had those days of feeling foggy, tired, like we’re dragging our feet. Your brain needs rest to help you think clearly and rejuvenate for the next day. Try and aim for 7-8 hours a night!
Understand you are NOT alone. Did you know that mental illnesses affect 1 in every 4 people, in the world? I would argue more than that. People suffer through mental illnesses that go from anxiety, depression, and stress to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Over-thinking can be seen as a mental illness, self- deteriorating thoughts and emotions. Everyone has their own issues, find comfort in knowing we are all processing and moving forward in our own everyday battles. And never be afraid to open up about it. You would be surprised how many people believe they are the only one going through an issue, and how relieved they become when they know they are not alone. Just like you are not alone.
Mental health can change a relatively healthy person into an unhealthy person and vice versa. Not just mentally, but physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Your fitness journey needs to start from the inside before you can see the outside results.
Awesome book to improve your mental game!